The judge being in a generous mood I had more than the usual 40 minute window for lunch with a neglected friend. Bermondsey Street being deemed too far a stroll we decided to take our chances on what Borough had to offer. Roast hides its up-scalery deftly. Entry is via a lift and the spacious, calm room is a bit of a surprise after the hustle and bustle of the market below.
More than one party that followed us did a walk of shame back down to the stalls when they realised that the restaurant is a significantly more expensive option than eating from the hand in an upright stance. Booking, even at lunch, would be advisable; our table was ill-positioned in the middle of the room – seats around the edge offer a better view of goings on outside. The clinetèle (in half term) was a mixture of City types and journos (from the Sh*rd) braying away at each other in public school patois and middle-class parents with tailored offspring.
We went for the £30 set lunch which offered a smattering of dishes per course to suit most tastes. Pea soup to start was a zinger, really fresh and served with tasty bread. We both had a main of mixed grilled fish with sauce vièrge. Cod, bass and a ‘king prawn were cooked to perfection though lacking stodgy veggy friends on the plate. Good if you’re on a diet I guess but we had to ask for more bread to keep rumbly stomachs happy.
Halfway through our main, and despite a now emptying restaurant, a couple were seated immediately next to us. Not the first time this has happened to me in a restaurant and always annoying. Fortunately since neither of us was spilling any state secrets we could converse freely. And on discovering that our neighbours had no English swearing was also back on the agenda.
There’s an impressive wine list and a Chapel Down Chardonnay (‘It’s unoaked, sir’) was a good choice – it lasted us through a cheese board which had two generous lumps of the good stuff. Even on a set menu Roast doesn’t come cheap for lunch but food and service were excellent. Coffee was taken downstairs at Notes served by a man with a cap who is a bonhomious cheermaker for any stolen market moment.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).